Bus shelter, Adhesive foil printing, photo motives by Shutterstock, turf, basalt, colour, pillows, deck chairs
St.Open #4, co-work with Julia Weißenberg
The 4th bus shelter of the St. Open project is situated in the middle of the so called „Kleine Alhambra“ – small Alhambra, which is a part of the green belt of Cologne in the city district „Nippes“. The „Kleine Alhambra“ was designed by Fritz Schumacher as part of the urban planning of the green belt, commissioned by Konrad Adenauer in 1922. At that time, the city planned to provide places of nature and retreat, as well as sites of mental and physical education for the citizens. New values and social reformations at the beginning of the 20th century pushed the idea of this ambitious, democratic project, whose realisation added to the cultural development of the modern urban life.
Today, the existence of this park is threatened: the park area „Kleine Alhambra“, has climate and ecological functions within the inner city area, is disregarded and neglected by the city administration; while the adjacent garden allotments are planned to be replaced by housing construction. The initiative „Die Grüne Lunge“ – the green lung – are fighting against these structural developments. Unfortunately, due to the lack of maintenance, the Cologne’s “Kleine Alhambra” has few similarities with its Andalusian namesake.
The original Alhambra is one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic art and symbolises the so called heyday of Islamic culture. During the first period of Al-Andalus (711 - 1492) which was under the reign of the Moors, the reappearing topic was of a peaceful coexistence of three monotheistic religions. In addition, there is no doubt that the achievements during the Islamic acme regarding science, philosophy and art had a big influence on our Christian world. In recent years, Islam is now somehow mentioned more in context of terror attacks and the refugee crisis.
This art work wants to focus on the wealth of intellectual variety manifested in the Alhambra. Today, the Alhambra is one of the most frequented European tourist attractions and a world heritage site since 1984.
The Kleine Alhambra park, in reference to the Andalusian Alhambra, was an immediate part of the bus shelter functioning as a site of encounter, information and imagination. The neglected grounds were transformed into a respectable and welcoming place: the foot path around the non-operating fountain was almost invisible due to overgrown weeds; it was cleaned and filled with basalt stones; turf was integrated into the existing grass around the garden; and for the opening event coloured pillows were placed around the fountain. The bus shelter having direct view on the garden, served as a bright pavilion; pictures of the Spanish namesake showing an outside view of the Alhambra covered the outer wall of the shelter. The inside of the shelter showed the lion square with its stalactites connecting the bus shelter with the surrounding park. Deck chairs beside the shelter offered rest and the possibility to linger. Thus through the work, the „Kleine Alhambra“ was both reactivated and paid tribute to it..